Madonna del Monte, 18th century

The death of an island

Madonna del Monte, 18th centuryThe island Madonna del Monte, aka Madonna del Rosario, is a small island in the Venetian lagoon, located on the canal which connects Murano and Burano.

It is dying a slow death.

It housed a monastery for a period in the middle ages, but then lay abandoned for centuries, until another monastery was founded in the early 18th century. It lasted just one century before being closed and demolished by Napoleon, like so many other monasteries.

In the 19th century it was used for gun powder storage, and the current building dates from this period.

It is now suffering from death by waves.

It once had a perimeter wall, but the intense motor traffic on the nearby canal has caused that wall to crumble and little of anything is now visible to the casual visitor.

Once the wall is down, the constant waves quickly erode the sand and dirt the island is made of. The trees and shrubs near the edge die because of the salty water washing over the shore, and without the roots of the plants there is nothing left to keep the island together.

The island is getting smaller and smaller each year.

These photos give an impression of the size the island had a few decades ago:

38 Madonna monte

Notice how much space there is in front of the building.

Here are some of the photos I have taken of the island in the years I’ve been here in Venice.


There are still a few metres of land in front of the entrance, but most of the trees are dead, probably because the soil has become too salty or too moist.


2007-09-13-174628 detail


At least two metres in front of the entrance but the dead trees are gone, though there’s some vegetation left.

2009-07 dsc_0034

2009-07 dsc_0034 detail


No trees left, and maybe one metre of land left.

2010-09 P1090311

2010-09 P1090311 detail


No vegetation and at most one metre land land in front of the entrance.

2011-02 P1000628

2011-02 P1000628 detail


This is the best photo I could find from 2012, and its not very clear.

2012-04 p1020867

2012-04 p1020867 detail

2011-02 P1000628 detail


2013-10 dscf3307



One response to “The death of an island”

  1. Hannes Siefert avatar
    Hannes Siefert

    hello mr. Seindal,

    I read your post about the little Island Madonna del Monte with a lot of interest. where do you got your information from? do you have more Pictures ? Or Maps?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *